In the meme-driven crypto community, monkey business is serious business. The breakout NFT phenomenon that is the Bored Ape Yacht club made headlines, celebrity name-drops, and cartoons, not to mention millions of dollars. Now BAYC's new cryptocurrency, Apecoin, is the talk of the town. But is this crypto just a cynical attempt to cash in on the Bored Ape trend or a good investment for the future?
ApeCoin (APE) was created by Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, its spinoff Mutant Apes, but the coin was actually launched by the ApeCoin DAO in order to create some distance from the original company and maintain decentralised management. The DAO will handle all things ApeCoin, with the token itself touted as a coin for "art, entertainment, events and storytelling". With that language, ApeCoin is clearly shooting for a place in the Web 3.0 metaverse and is already slated to be integrated into play-to-earn games developed by the Ubisoft-backed Animoca Brands.
The early days of ApeCoin
The coin's launch on 17 March initially gave away 15% of the total supply of 1 billion as a free bonus to current BAYC NFT holders. This resulted in a predictable sell-off of freebies at launch, which meant that ApeCoin saw considerable price volatility on exchanges. Its value surged to $40 before dropping to around $8. Most recently, ApeCoin's value surged again to around $14, following a successful funding round by Yuga Labs.
Analysts have warned investors to consider the distribution structure of ApeCoin when attempting to make price predictions. A full 22% of all tokens launched were reserved for individual BAYC founders and "the companies and people that helped make this project a reality". Yuga Labs itself holds 16%, while the aforementioned other 15% is in the possession of BAYC NFT holders. The DAO treasury holds the rest. As a result, existing BAYC insiders, affiliated companies and NFT holders have considerable influence over the whole supply. As a certain proportion of these early ApeCoin holders will be waiting to sell their coins for profit, more sell-offs may be expected in the future. The supply of 1 billion APE is fixed, and the DAO has stated that new coins will not be created and cannot be burned.
However, BAYC's strong brand and financial backing do put ApeCoin in a strong position. Should the community realise its ambitions, ApeCoin could become a valuable metaverse token.
A metaverse token in the making?
The ApeCoin DAO aims to evolve an ecosystem in which ApeCoin serves as a governance token for community decision-making and as a utility token for transactions. Building on the BAYC concept, APE holders are also supposed to gain access to exclusive digital or real-world events and items.
Although ApeCoin intends to expand into a range of gaming and entertainment products, it is so far attached to two known games. One is Benji Bananas, a mobile game by Animoca Brands, which has a board member, Yat Siu, on the Ape Foundation, the current management of ApeCoin DAO. Other Ape Foundation members include Alexis Ohanian (Co-founder of Reddit and General Partner & Founder of Seven Seven Six), Amy Wu (Head of Ventures & Gaming at FTX), Maaria Bajwa (Principal at Sound Ventures) and Dean Steinbeck (President & General Counsel at Horizen Labs). Although these members can be voted out by the community after a period of six months, there is some credible expertise and industry clout at the helm right now.
ApeCoin will also be integrated into an upcoming game developed by nWay, a subsidiary of Animoca. nWay is already known for developing fighting game titles, but a teaser image shared by the company indicates that its upcoming game will feature Bored Ape characters in their distinctive art style, similar to the Red Ape Family cartoon. If these integrations are successful, the Bored Ape brand could build a media empire that ApeCoin will surely benefit from.
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